8,079 AFGHAN REFUGEES RETURNED IN 2019
During 2019, some 8,079 Afghan refugees returned from Pakistan (6,062), Iran (1,939), and other countries (78) including Tajikistan, India, Azerbaijan, Kenya and the Russian Federation. This figure represents a decrease of 49% compared to the 15,699 refugees who returned during the same period in 2018. The lower rate of return in 2019 reflects ongoing security concerns, as well as a worsening economic situation across Afghanistan.
UNHCR’ facilitated return from Pakistan is paused from 1 December 2019 until 29 February 2020 for winter, while return from Iran and other countries will continue throughout the year.
On the margins of the Global Refugee Forum held between 16 and18 December 2019 in Geneva,
Switzerland, the governments of the Islamic Republics of Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan, together with UNHCR launched a new Support Platform for the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees (SSAR). This initiative will enhance on-going efforts to mobilize additional resources and support for Afghan refugees in Iran and Pakistan, including facilitation of voluntary repatriation to Afghanistan.
During the event, the three countries reiterated their commitment to work together to protect and find lasting solutions for refugees, including by allowing refugees to work, study and contribute to the countries hosting them. Enhancing the capacity of Afghan refugees for voluntary return to Afghanistan in safety and dignity is one of the three key objectives of the SSAR. UNHCR continues to facilitate the voluntary repatriation of Afghan refugees who wish to return home.